Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why I'm Not a Christian
Apart from my fundamentalist, new-lifer, upbringing, and apart from the "how is this not just a long tradition of making stuff up?" question:

I Corinthians 6:9-10 reads:
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor homosexual offenders [arsenokoites], nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. "

Leviticus 18:22 reads:

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination."

Leviticus 20:13:

"And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

Romans 1:26-27:

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."

Note that two of the above are from the New Testament, the "books of Jesus," so to speak. And yep, I know about the controversies due to translations from Greek. I've left out some scriptures that may or may not refer to homosexuality. I also know that there are no direct words from Jesus on homosexuality.

The problem I have is that every time I read pieces refuting fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible's anti-gay scriptures, I come across excessive weasel-wording (I'm not name-calling, that's why the link is there). I have never read an organized, evidence backed argument that the scriptures in question do not condemn homosexuality. At best I read settlement for academic uncertainty and lists of possibly valid interpretations. There seems to be a settling point that certain passages refer to gay sex when it's not consensual, or when it's for pay; although in almost all versions of the modern Bible, the Bibles that fundamentalist Christians read, Leviticus and Paul's letter to the Romans seem quite to the point.

The question I've never gotten a clear answer to is, "Why would I, someone that regularly 'lies with mankind,' take a book with such uncertainties as a text to live by?" Why wouldn't I find a text that overtly embraces my sexual orientation and doesn't leave room for interpretations that call for my death? Why would I choose the first option and settle for scholarly equivocation? The Bible doesn't contain an elastic clause and can't be readily amended (and alteration during translation seems like cheating to me).

Where does the Bible refer to my orientation as natural and God-given? If that's in there, I'll convert right back. Anything else just isn't good enough for this gay.